ILOILO City – Altermidya Network just received reports that our colleague in Tacloban, Frenchimae Cumpio of Eastern Vista, is one of the five arrested in an early morning raid today, February 7.
Cumpio were reportedly arrested with known human rights leaders in Tacloban City, including Marissa Cabaljao, spokesperson of People’s Surge Network. They are reportedly being charged with illegal possession of firearms and are detained at the Palo PNP office.
Just a few days ago, Cumpio reported that the Eastern Vista office was the subject of surveillance, with unidentified persons patrolling the premises. She also reported being tailed by men in motorcycles, whom she believed were military assets.
Cumpio is currently the executive director of Eastern Vista and radio anchor of program Lingganay han Kamatuoran.
On Jan. 31, an unidentified person reportedly visited the premises of the Eastern Vista office. He was reportedly carrying a photo of Cumpio and a band of flowers while asking for the exact location of the office. Human rights groups have noted several incidents where state agents sent flowers to progressive groups as a form of death threat and intimidation. Cumpio has reportedly been under surveillance for several months now.
The Altermidya believes that state forces are behind the relentless harassment against Eastern Vista, which has continuously reported on human rights issues in the Visayas including on military abuses.
We condemn the Leyte police and state forces for this latest attack on Eastern Vista, our fellow community journalist Cumpio, and against people’s groups in Leyte. We demand their immediate and safe release, and call on the public to denounce this latest attempt to silence and intimidate independent media and human rights defenders.
Together with our fellow journalists and the communities we serve, we condemn these rotten attempts that threaten press freedom and free expression./www.panaytoday.net
(Report from Altermidya Network)